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Karol Oponowicz
23.03.2023 | 4 min

The challenges of the energy industry and how emerging startups can deal with them

The production and consumption of energy are among the most significant challenges of the modern world, especially now due to the ongoing energy crisis. Unfortunately, it’s a hot topic, and it’s getting hotter year by year, just like the Earth itself. And that’s why more and more new companies are using their wits and budgets to find ways to solve the issues that come with the rising power demand, especially from renewable sources. In this article, I’ll talk about the most significant energy-related challenges and some fascinating startup projects that are trying to deal with them.

The challenges of the energy industry and how emerging startups can deal with them - 2024 35
Table of Contents
  • The fossil fuel phase-out is the first piece of the puzzle
  • 1. Too high and inefficient energy consumption
  • 2. Energy storage
  • 3. Planning of efficient solar and wind farms
  • The focus on energy will only increase in the next decades

The fossil fuel phase-out is the first piece of the puzzle

Whether we’re talking about global warming or pollution and all the further consequences of it, there’s no way around it. The need to limit the usage of fossil fuels is the biggest motivation for a vast majority (if not all) of projects.

Of course, some of the projects that we’ll talk about can bring much more benefits in the short term. However, it’s fair to say that all of them contribute to the larger goals, such as sustainable and greener energy production.

All of those goals are described in detail in goal number 7 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations:

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The exact targets for the year 2030 include the following:

  • Universal access to affordable energy for everyone on the planet
  • Significant increase in total share of energy produced from renewable sources
  • 100% improvement in global energy efficiency
  • Improved international cooperation in terms of research and development of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, and related subjects
  • Significant improvements in technology and energy infrastructure in developing countries

Of course, there are different methods to achieve those goals as they are linked to many other challenges across various industries. So, let’s move on to the actual issues and how startups deal with them.

1. Too high and inefficient energy consumption

Change often starts with analysis. Once companies start analyzing their processes and understanding them in a much deeper way, they’re ready to make significant changes.

A great example of that is the extensive use of smart meters to analyze energy consumption across the entire facility. It allows companies to draw conclusions and adjust their processes to maximize energy use when it’s the cheapest.

Using the system, companies can precisely analyze which machines and processes consume the most energy and then make better decisions in both maintenance and further development. For example, it may turn out that some outdated machines consume so much energy that if they were to be replaced, new ones would bring massive savings in just a few years.

There’s also a tool that can help the same way on a much smaller, household scale - Enode. The application helps manage many energy-related devices, including electric vehicles, solar panels, thermostats, and more.

Energy purchasing

Another issue tightly linked to this is how companies purchase energy. The question of how and when to buy energy is one of the most underestimated subjects in the industry. By making the right, informed decision in that sense, companies can save a huge chunk of their budgets. We build a tool for one of our clients, Enerace, that does exactly that. It helps in decision-making and strategizing when it comes to buying energy.

2. Energy storage

Sun provides us with more than enough energy to support all global needs. The same can be said about wind power. However, most renewable energy sources are inconsistent. Solar panels often generate more energy than we need during the day, and, of course, they don’t generate any energy at night.

So, the obvious challenge here is to store the excess energy and use it when panels or wind turbines aren’t working.

There are many ways to approach this issue. The Heatcube created by one of our clients, KYOTO, is one of them. It’s an efficient thermal battery that uses molten salt and has an expected lifespan of around 20-30 years. The technology is aimed at industrial usage and doesn’t use lithium, which makes it perfect for companies that aim to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Another interesting startup, Nuvve, has a different take on the issue as it uses the resources that are already there. The company specializes in a technology called V2G, which means Vehicle to Grid. It uses idle electric vehicles such as municipal buses to store the excess energy and return it when needed.

3. Planning of efficient solar and wind farms

The inconsistency of the most popular renewable energy sources requires a comprehensive approach to the planning process. Companies want to know exactly how much energy they will be able to generate from a wind or solar farm and what return on investment they can expect.

Glint Solar has the tool for that exact purpose. It provides accurate predictions and helps companies make much better decisions when it comes to investments in renewable energy. Of course, in addition to the efficiency and the money aspect, we can’t forget about the environmental aspects. After all, that’s the entire point.

And if that’s not enough, there’s also the legal side of the issue. More and more countries introduce regulations that require companies to use energy from renewable sources in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The focus on energy will only increase in the next decades

The way we approach energy in the next years will have an immense impact on the world as a whole. That awareness motivates companies, scientists, and entrepreneurs to build solutions that will let us live in a safer and cleaner world.

As a company, we want to be a part of that movement, and we’re proud to be a part of projects that contribute to those goals.

If you have a similar kind of project, we’ll be happy to help you build it. Arrange a call with us here.

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